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Welcome back to the Raising Healthy Families series! Join us each week as we take a look at different ways to keep your family healthy and vibrant in a not-so-healthy world.
Summer is right around the corner and now is the perfect time to start planning and preparing your natural first aid kit for summer.
I love summer. More free time, more time outside, and lots of sun and water. However, more outdoor time can mean more cuts and scrapes for the kids, sometimes a little too much sun, and more insect bites and bee stings.
I like to have a few easy remedies ready to go for some of the more minor first aid needs.
To start off, here are some of the essentials you’ll want to keep handy during the summer months:
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Aloe Vera Gel/Juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Redmond Clay
- Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Essential Oil
Of course, it’s best to take precautions to avoid having to use any first aid remedies in the first place.
To prevent sunburn:
We know that the sun provides us with the valuable Vitamin D that we need and that many of us are lacking. However, it’s important to pay attention to the amount of time spent in the sun and to use a safe sunscreen or cover your skin if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time. Make sure to educate yourself fully on the importance of Vitamin D, sun exposure, and safe sunscreens before summer begins. Here are some articles I’ve found helpful:
To prevent insect bites:
There are many essential oils that effectively repel insects, and are much safer to use than store bought insect repellent containing DEET. You can make your own insect repellent by combining several of these essential oils in a glass spray bottle with a base. You can use either a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or olive oil or make a water based version using distilled water and witch hazel.
Insect Repelling Essential Oils include: basil, citronella, lemongrass, lavender, patchouli, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary and thyme.
Directions: Choose your essential oils and combine them in an 4-8 oz. glass spray bottle with either a carrier oil or distilled water. If using distilled water, add an oz. of witch hazel to help the oils blend with the water. Shake, and spray skin before heading outdoors.
For those times when you do end up getting a bite or spending a little too much time in the sun, and for those inevitable cuts and scrapes, it’s nice to have some easy, safe, home remedies ready to go to provide relief and healing.
For insect bites/stings:
- Lavender essential oil is great for providing relief from itching and also contains antiseptic properties. You can apply it neat (without diluting) directly to the bite.
- Oat bath: If you’re covered in bites an oat bath can provide some relief and soothing. Simply grind up a cup of oats in a blender and add it to a warm bath. Soak for 20 minutes.
Both aloe vera (make sure it’s 100% aloe vera, not the green gunk you find at the drug store) and lavender essential oil are great for healing burns and providing relief. I combine the two to make a healing lavender aloe vera sunburn relief spray to soothe sunburned skin:
Directions: Fill a 4-8 oz. glass spray bottle with juice or if using gel, fill the bottle 1/2 way with distilled water and 1/2 way with gel, and add in 20-40 drops of lavender essential oil. Spray on sunburned skin to provide relief, help with healing, and prevent peeling.
If you don’t have aloe vera, you can also just add lavender essential oil to a bottle with distilled water and use that as a spray to relieve sunburned skin.
Another great remedy for sunburn is apple cider vinegar. Although it may not smell great, ACV helps draw the heat out of the burned area. There are a couple ways to apply ACV to a burn:
- Add 1-2 TBSP to a cup of cool water. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to help with the smell (and because it’s great for burns!) Soak a washcloth in the mixture, wring it out and wrap it around the sunburned area. You will feel the washcloth heat up as it absorbs the heat from the burn. Repeat as needed.
- Run a cool bath and add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and several drops of lavender essential oil. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
I like to start with an apple cider vinegar treatment and then apply the lavender aloe vera spray.
For cuts and scrapes:
- Raw Honey: This is an easy one that most people already have in their kitchen cabinet. Raw honey has antibacterial properties and provides pain relief while healing, making it perfect for cuts and scrapes and even bee stings. It also helps make removing bandages less painful.
- Lavender Essential Oil: Again, lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the cut or scrape to help heal and soothe.
- Melaleuca (tea tree) Essential Oil: Melaleuca essential oil is antibacterial and has been used for centuries to heal cuts, wounds and skin infections. It can be applied neat (without diluting) directly to the cut or scrape.
Along with lavender essential oil, these are a couple of remedies to keep on hand for healing all kinds of things: burns, cuts, scrapes, bites, and stings!
- Calendula Salve: Calendula is known for it’s skin-healing properties, it’s perfect for sensitive skin, and a great one to use on children. It’s super easy to mix up a jar of calendula salve to have on hand year-round. Use it to help heal:
~cuts and scrapes
~bee stings/insect bites
~dry, chapped skin or lips
- Redmond clay: Redmond clay is a bentonite clay that is useful for a variety of things and great to have on hand. It’s helpful for healing cuts and scrapes as well as for bee stings/insect bites, and for minor burns and sunburns. I like to keep the dry clay on hand and then just add a little water and apply to the skin. The clay draws out dirt and infection, reduces pain, and cleanses, which provides for faster healing. Redmond Trading also sells First Aid clay, which is already hydrated clay, so it’s ready to go when you need it.
You can find these ingredients at your local health food store or online at Mountain Rose Herbs. Not only are most of these ingredients helpful during the summertime, but they also have many additional uses year round and are great additions to building a natural home medicine cabinet.
What essentials are in your summer first aid kit?